Parish Revitalization

Parish Revitalization

2014 and Beyond

July 6, 2014

As you know pastoral planning activities for our region have been completed with no significant impact on our parish. However, we should not rest on our laurels! The Word of God is efficacious and drives us to ever more communion with Christ. And so, as the Catholic Community in King of Prussia, we have not been still.

In February, since we were still in the midst of regional planning, I asked my staff to begin discussing ‘who we are’ as a parish and ‘what we are called to become.’ We found strengths to be built upon and leveraged in our revitalization efforts. We also identified shortcomings we should address both as a staff and  as a parish as we move forward. We set for ourselves two goals: develop a focused and concise mission statement that will guide us as a parish; and, support the mission statement with specific short-term and long-term action plans as determined by the study.

Through the summer months, I will be periodically communicate regarding our thoughts as we build more broadly upon our discussions in revitalizing our parish life. I encourage you to reference either the Bulletin or our parish website: mdpparish.com every two weeks.  My next communication will be July 20 and will provide an overview/summary of our discussions.

July 20, 2014

We began our self-study process by first using the inspiration of the book, Rebuilt, by Father Michael White and Tom Corcoran.   We attended a workshop on parish revitalization presented jointly by CARA (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) and Villanova University’s Center for Church Management at Villanova University.  From that we identified many areas for possible discussion at MDP.

We reviewed 32 specific areas/issues or parish activities that could/should be addressed and then we synthesized those into four overarching topics that recognize commonalities running through the issues.  Those consolidated areas focused on:

  1. Encouraging Active Participation in the life of the Parish
  2. Liturgy and Faith Formation
  3. Outreach to significant Groups of People  (e.g.:  Families of former MDP students; Youth and Young Adults; Seniors; Divorced Parishioners; and the Widowed)
  4. Stewardship
In each of these areas we discussed:

 

  • What issues or concerns exist at MDP?
  • What effect does the issue have on the life of our parish; both current effect and longer term impact?  (Both favorable and unfavorable).
  • What changes would improve our performance in these areas?
  • Do we have a process to address these issues or concerns?  If not, should one be developed?

Through the summer months, I will be periodically communicating with you regarding to our thoughts as we build more broadly upon our discussions in revitalizing our parish life.   I encourage you to reference either the bulletin or our parish website every two weeks.

My next communication will be August 3 and will discuss what specific areas will have highest impact on our parish and have been targeted for action.

August 3, 2014

As you know, our pastoral council, parish staff and I have been reviewing 32 specific areas/issues or parish activities that could/should be addressed during our attempt to revitalize our parish for the future to insure our mission and our work complement one another and that we in fact are who we say we are.  We synthesized four overarching topics that recognize commonalities running through the issues.  Those consolidated areas focused on:

  1. Encouraging Active Participation in the life of the Parish
  2. Liturgy and Faith Formation
  3. Outreach to significant Groups of People (e.g.:  Families of former MDP students; Youth and Young Adults; Seniors; Divorced Parishioners; and the Widowed)
  4. Stewardship

These near term action plans were accepted based on our ability to create a noticeable and lasting effect on parish life and a high level of confidence that given limited resources, we will be able to implement these plans before Advent of 2015:

1.  To invest in the broadening and scope of the music program, by:

a.)  reconfigure worship space to better accentuate the scope of music in the liturgy,

b.)  bring more diversity to the musical selections for each season,

c.)  incorporate a broader range of musical instruments for use in the liturgies, and

d.)  invite youth music programs from School and PREP to participate in our worship    experience.

2.  Develop an ongoing “Liturgy Symposium Series,” covering the theological and practical aspects of key liturgies including:  Mass, Baptism, Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Confirmation, Communal Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours), Popular Devotions, Marriage and Penance.

3.  Set preaching themes that relate to Gospel values and virtues to weekly parish life.

4.  Include parents in the religious education of their children so that their own faith is deepened.

Longer term action plans will be addressed at a later time, such as the notion of ‘welcoming’, community outreach and evangelization.  Our next communication will consider the development of a new Mission Statement.

September 14, 2014

The capstone of our MDP revitalization plan is a refreshed definition of the Mission of our parish.  In revising our parish Mission Statement we are conscious that we must look not just to the present, short term needs of our parish; but our definition of Mission must also be able to withstand the changes that are inevitable in the future of MDP.

With that in mind, we were careful and thoughtful in crafting our refreshed Parish Mission Statement.  Our work included:

  • Consulting with the Pastoral Council members for their thoughts and perspectives regarding:  key attributes of our parish (both positive and negative); aspirations we hold for MDP; and hot-button issues that must be addressed.
  • Reviewing the mission statements of other parishes and the Archdiocesan Mission Statement for added points of reference that we should consider and
  • Reviewing relevant articles, books and practice aids to assist us in this task

In crafting our refreshed mission statement we agreed that it must embody the following considerations:

  • Our Mission Statement must be concise and understandable by all who read it,
  • Our Mission Statement must be able to withstand future changes to our parish and still be relevant to “Who we Are” in our revitalized parish.  And,
  • Our Mission Statement should be the guiding focus for all that we do as a parish.

We believe our refocused Parish Mission accomplishes these objectives:

Love God first above all things, and then go out and make disciples!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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